Friday, August 12, 2011

Community Threads: Day 5

Linda Needles, president of her guild, is one of the dynamic forces at the Nottawasaga Handweavers and Spinners in Alliston. She sent me all kinds of links and pictures related to tapestry weaving. I'll post them at the end of the blog for you to reference and learn more about tapestry as well as about historical and contemporary tapestry practices. Of the many images she sent me, this one was included. It is taken at Stirling Castle in Scotland where they are recreating the historical Unicorn tapestries.

There were various tasks to accomplish today. The guild participants helped me in the finishing of my tapestries recently off the loom in an effort to have them ready for the exhibition opening Wholeness, September 11 between 2-5pm at the Gibson Centre for Community, Art and Culture, 63 Tupper Street West. An intensive effort as they soon discovered. This task requires hours of inserting the weft threads into the 'tunnel' that the weft thread creates as it passes over the warp threads.
In this picture, from left to right, Janet Fayle, Elisabeth Bishof, and Betty C.

The advantage of such a task when undertaken with others, is that it is one of those jobs that you can engage in conversation easily. So lots of chatting went on. From left to right, Nellie, our new OHS president Sandi Nemenyi, and Janet .
As I listen to them talking among each other I clearly see that these women make valuable contirubtions to their community. Sharon Robinson Rodrigo summed it up beautifully when she said that these kinds of cultural activities are community building activities. It builds morale, lifts the spirits of not only those who make the contributions but also those who will benefit from their contributions. People like Linda Needles who works to fundraise for a digital mammography machine, Sandi Nemenyi who puts in countless hours voluntarily and unpaid for the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners, Janet Fayle, whose good sense of order and organization keeps the Nottawasaga Guild running smoothly, Sharon Robinson Rodrigo who puts in volunteer hours for her church, and their youth camp as well as their endeavours to send aid to Haiti. All of you that have come out to participate in the Community Threads project ....I can only say it is such a generous gesture to participate in a project of this scope. I'm sure there are many more of you that contribute in other ways that I have not heard of and you deserve a great round of applause. These community and volunteer efforts contribute to our 'wholeness', to the 'wholeness' of one's community and various organizations , which makes this entire endeavour so compatible with my upcoming exhibit entitled Wholeness.
In this picture Sharon Robinson Rodrigo and Linda Needles prepare the paper that will be layered between the warp threads on the gobelin loom.

We learned today that the Gibson Centre has a TV monitor in the reception area where they post pictures of the activities that take place there. I'll be submitting pictures to the Gibson Centre for that head's up, your picture might be there! The South Simcoe Arts Council friended us on 'Facebook' and is very supportive of our undertaking. They have made a contribution to the Community Threads project.

Libby Hoffman and Nathalia Smugden finished setting up the warps on the smaller tapestry looms we'll be using. Nathalia mentioned that she took Ukrainian weaving for several years at the Banff School of Art and recalls the luxury of having a swim morning and night, and weaving all day in between. We talked about how wonderful it is to be able to dedicate time to an activity we feel passionate about and love doing. Time out from the usual mundande domestic chores. Time to just focus on what matters to us. Time to not take care of anyone else but ourselves. We all need to do that once in awhile, to feel whole, to feel renewed!

The final preparations of the warp on the gobelin loom overseen by Gayle Wheeler on the right. Valerie Splaine and Elisabeth Bishof undertake the task. Gayle has studied tapestry with Marcel Marois and Archie Brennan ( and also studied with me!). You should ask Gayle what is was like to work with Marcel and Archie. I'm sure it would be intriguing and very interesting!

I spent the day on the floor preparing the colour combinations and butterflies for the one of the twelve tapestries. Everything had to be coded for the days when I won't be available to help.

Below the promised links to other tapestry information, historical and contemporary forwarded by Linda Needles.
This link makes reference to an artist who commissioned the Victorian Tapestry Workshop to create his designs for tapestries that are still hanging in Saskatchewan. See page 12 of the transcripts of this talk given.
This link is to the Stirling Castle tapestries

Canongate Kirk - "kirk," that's what they call churches in Scotland - is at
the lower end of Edinburgh's Royal Mile, near Holyrood Palace.

Built in 1690, its plain, light-blue interior, without embellishments such
as stained-glass windows, reflects the country's conversion to Protestantism
in the 16th century, under fire-and-brimstone-breathing Scottish preacher
John Knox.

But in 2000, some truly lovely and moving elaborations were made to the
otherwise Spartan church in the form of embroidered seat cushions for the
stalls in the apse.

Commissioned by the Fife, Lothians and Borders branch of the Normandy
Veterans Assn., they commemorate the soldiers who died, fighting to liberate
Europe during World War II, on D-day.

Fine three-stranded wool thread dyed in a rainbow of colors was used by
textile artists from all over the world, in patterns well-known to crewel
workers, including Scottish and Gobelin stitchery. The result is radiant,
though it's doubtful that Knox would agree.
Susan Spano, Los Angeles Times staff writer

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